Before we get into how watching Back to the Future every week is affecting me, let’s talk about how I kept notes on Top Gun‘s side effects during the previous experiment. If you read one of my “Results” entries last year, it typically looked something like this…
Jun. 9, 2012
6:09pm EST – Watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Transporter Luau.” Cinemanaut John pointed out that the Vulcan fish tacos look way too green. Charlie’s parrot in Top Gun is green. I remembered that.
Wingman volleyball farts!
Well, things have changed this year, and I’ll tell you why: we’ve got Cinemanaut Becca on board.
Pictured sans Falkor-face.
Becca, psychology major extraordinaire and person I find smart and agreeable, pointed out to me that only behavior should count in an experiment like this, not thoughts. Looking back over last year’s results, a good number of them are simply times I was reminded of watching Top Gun. Basically, unintentionally saying “I feel the need for speed” should be a result; merely feeling it should not. Less thoughts, more actions.
Dreams totally count though, and wow, watching Back to the Future every week has definitely taken its toll in that department. In the month of January alone, I’ve had three significant dreams. Here are my notes on them.
January 8th, 2013
Definitely had a Back to the Future dream. Woke up, meant to write it down, fell back asleep. All I remember is that I had a copy of the movie contained in a plain, gray case. I believe I was on my way to someone’s house to watch it with them. That’s all I remember.
January 17th, 2013
Dreamed I had a “Films Starring Christopher Lloyd” section in my Netflix queue. One of them was a documentary about his life. Haha, a Doc doc. Earlier in the dream, I was flying to Mars in the TARDIS with David Tennant’s incarnation of the Doctor from Doctor Who. This was my first dream of the year featuring a time machine, though no time travel occurred.
January 28th, 2013
Dreamed I was trying to watch Back to the Future, but every VHS I owned labeled “Back to the Future” was something else that simply had the same title. One of them was a cheesy concert video for some hair metal band that had cameos from Michael J. Fox and Lea Thompson. Can’t remember the rest of the videos.
This data is overwhelmingly significant. 2012’s steady IV drip of Top Gun yielded seven dreams for the entire year. In the first month of 2013, I’m almost halfway to that number with Back to the Future dreams. Ready for a crossover? Cinemanaut Ty is having dreams about Ghostbusters over on his side of the experiment, despite not having any dreams related to his assigned movie last year (minus one about its composer, but this was after repeatedly listening to his work).
So, have we proven that loving a film as a child will increase your chances of dreaming about it after repeated exposure to it? Absolutely not. Is this promising data that could lead to further experimentation? Yes, indeed, bring out the cages and the Blu-Ray players! We shall make science! Or maybe a Craigslist posting.
And now, involuntary behaviors related to Back to the Future!
6:54pm EST, January 4th, 2013 – I meant to say, “You don’t just ask someone if they’re gay.” Started to say, “You don’t just walk into a store and buy plutonium.”
9:35pm EST, January 6th, 2013 – I asked Cinemanaut John what was on a CD. He said, “I’ll find out.” I said, “In thirty years,” completing a Marty McFly quote without thinking about it.
11:05am EST, January 10th, 2013 – A co-worker asked me a question. I responded with a Lorraine Baines line from Back to the Future, mimicking her timing and tone: “I don’t know, but I’m gonna find out.”
2:19am EST, January 31st, 2013 – Audibly (and embarrassingly?) sang “The Power of Love” in the shower. Made it a minute or so into the song before I realized its significance to the experiment.
CHECKIN’ IN WITH TOP GUN:
Freeing myself from the prison of weekly Top Gun viewings has been nothing but good. I feel happier, I rarely think about the movie any more, and I look forward to making time for Back to the Future instead of clearing two hours for macho jet fighter shenanigans that I couldn’t care less about. It’s smiles across the board.
Still, I thought this was an important story to share. While I was riding the bus home from work, I was listening to randomized iTunes on my phone and “Playing With the Boys” came up. If you’re wondering, that’s the song from this scene…
The chunk of the movie bro parties instantly start mumbling during.
We’ll talk about the annoyance of iTunes syncing some other time, but basically, I had no idea the song was on there and frantically scrambled to skip it. But then… I didn’t. I let it play. And here’s why… I wanted to recontextualize it. Why forever associate this song with a movie I can’t stand to think about? So, I looked out the window and took in the snow-covered trees of a beautiful New England winter as I listened to Kenny Loggins singing a totally-not-gay love letter to kicking back with your chums because you’re scared of women.
Then I remembered the song really is complete and utter shit and I would never hear it again outside of the soundtrack anyway, so why try to get used to it? Skip.